A professional esports team with three South African members took the top prize at a major CS:GO tournament on the ESL Pro Tour circuit this past weekend.
Extra Salt convincingly defeated paiN Gaming 3-0 in the Grand Final of the DreamHack Open March 2021: North America on Sunday, after clearing the playoffs without losing a single map.
“Word can’t describe the win, it’s been much waited on,” player Aran “Sonic” Groesbreek said in a post-match interview.
The $70,000 CS:GO competition began with two groups of four teams. The top two teams from each group would advance to the semi-finals.
Extra Salt kicked their tournament off with a 2-0 win over paiN Gaming earlier in the weekend, before beating Bad New Bears 2-1 to top their group.
They later dispatched with High Coast Esports in their semi-final to proceed to the final for a rematch with paiN Gaming.
One of the most impressive moments of the final game came when Extra Salt staged a comeback to win 10 straight points after being 2-8 down on Inferno, ultimately taking the map 16-12.
The team took away a $35,000 prize and 100 Pro Tour points, in addition to qualifying for Intel Extreme Masters Summer 2021, which will take place from 3-13 June.
South African players
North American-based Extra Salt includes two South African players in Johnny “JT” Theodosiou and Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek, as well as South African coach Tiaan “T.c” Coertzen.
The remainder of the squad is made up of American Joshua “oSee” Ohm, Mexican Edgar “MarKE” Maldonado, and Canadian Justin “FaNg” Coakley.
The South African trio – formerly part of Cloud9 Gaming – was suspended due to supposedly breaking COVID-19 guidelines but were picked up quickly by newcomer Extra Salt towards the end of 2020.
The organisation is headed by Daniel van Flymen, better known in the South African Counter-Strike fraternity as “Gandalf”. Van Flymen was the founder of Damage Control, one of the first African Counter-Strike teams to compete overseas.
With the DreamHack Open March 2021 win, Extra Salt has cemented its position as the no.1 CS:GO team in North America.
They have now set their sights on playing in Europe and surpassing Cloud9 Gaming to top the world rankings.
Below is the moment Extra Salt clinched the CS:GO final victory at the DreamHack Open March 2021: North America.
YOUR NORTH AMERICAN #DHO44 CHAMPIONS!
— DreamHack Counter-Strike (@DreamHackCSGO) March 15, 2021